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Thread: Modification of support and forgiveness of arrears

  1. #1
    helix2048 is offline Member
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    Modification of support and forgiveness of arrears

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Michigan

    I am set for a court date for a modication of my support payment in October (it has been long due, but I wanted to show a history of faithful payment). I would like to ask for partial forgiveness of arrears. I have a criminal case that orders me to pay $400 a month to pay off the arrears, this is the case that also set my support order at over twice what it was supposed to be. The current support order is so high that I have still been accruing arrears for the past three years. I want to ask for some of these arrears to be forgiven. The CP will not reveal to me if she has or hasn't been on public assistance, and I doubt she will forgive any of the arrears, but I want to try asking the judge with her present. What is the best way to go about asking for either a reduction in the arrears payment or a forgiveness of part of the total amount?

    Thank you.
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You can ask, but I wouldn't hold my breath. You never should have waited so long to start the modification process.
    Antigone* likes this.
  3. #3
    CSO286 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by helix2048 View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Michigan

    I am set for a court date for a modication of my support payment in October (it has been long due, but I wanted to show a history of faithful payment). I would like to ask for partial forgiveness of arrears. I have a criminal case that orders me to pay $400 a month to pay off the arrears, this is the case that also set my support order at over twice what it was supposed to be. The current support order is so high that I have still been accruing arrears for the past three years. I want to ask for some of these arrears to be forgiven. The CP will not reveal to me if she has or hasn't been on public assistance, and I doubt she will forgive any of the arrears, but I want to try asking the judge with her present. What is the best way to go about asking for either a reduction in the arrears payment or a forgiveness of part of the total amount?

    Thank you.
    Highly unlikley. The courts do not have the right to reduce the arrears that are owed to CP. They may be able to forgive all or part of arrears that are owed to the State (if public assistance arrears exist on your case). Why the CP may choose not ot tell you if she has bee non any public assistance, the FOC office can tell you what portions of the arrears are owed the the CP and what portion are owed to the State (meaning that the CP was on some sort of public assistance at some point in time.)

    If the current support order is so high that you have been unable to meet your monthly obliogation for the past three year, why did you not file for a modification sooner???

    From: http://www.casscountymi.org/Departme...ldSupport.aspx


    Retroactive Changes in Support

    Child support usually cannot be modified retroactively. MCL 552.602. If you lose your job but wait several months before seeking modification of your child support order, you will still be liable for the child support amount ordered until the day a motion to change support is filed. While it could take weeks for the FOC to make a recommendation about new amount of child support, a new support obligation will be retroactive to the day a motion to modify support was filed with the Court.

    If you do not contact the FOC when your income changes, you could regret it later. It could cost you a lot of money that you would not have been responsible for if you had done so. A limited exception to the rule against retroactive modification of support is found in the statute that prohibits retroactive modification.

    This law means that if a person does not tell FOC of a change in his or her income though he or she knows of the requirement to do so, or lies about his or her income, the support amount can be changed back to what it should be have been if the change had been reported. If the requirement for notice is in the support order, then the Court will find that the person knew or should have known about the requirement to notify the FOC of an income change. Not allowing retroactive modification in this situation would be rewarding something done in contempt of the order of the Court.
    Statute:
    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(ipi...me=mcl-552-603
  4. #4
    helix2048 is offline Member
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    The CS amount and arrear payments were set in a criminal case. I did try to go for a modification shortly after the criminal case, and they said I didn't send in the paperwork (I assure you I did!). I felt like they were discriminating against the fact that it was a criminal case so I didn't try to fight it until I came up with the money for a lawyer to do it for me. It took this long to save up that kind of money. I honestly felt pretty hopeless and like I had no rights, and that I'd get denied anyway, so I just decided to let the CP get that kind of support for a while to show the courts that I did intend to keep paying.

    My inability to stay organized and fight for myself brought me to this point. The CP had given me a verbal agreement that if I stayed out of her life (after taking me to court in a nasty custody battle, accusing me of horrible things) she would not come after the child support. I had a second family by then. I always sent Michigan my current address and job information, but no support ever came out of my checks. When I got divorced from my second wife, the second ex called up Michigan posing as my first ex and declared she wanted the arrears. So Michigan came and got me and put me in jail for month and set the amounts I mentioned before in a criminal case. That is kind of ironic because now the second ex only gets about $200 a month while the first ex gets $1200 because she wanted to see me in jail. Karma! The first ex just outright refuses to talk to me, and it has been so long that I have seen those two children, that I have given up hope of being involved until they are older and can contact me out of their own free will. They are 14 and 12 now.

    I know there is no excuse for not fighting for myself, but I have just been so beaten down that it took a good woman (my current fiance) to give me the motivation and belief that I had any rights left. As for why I haven't been involved in the first children's lives, well, I have other posts that detail that. I feel at this point it isn't in their best interests. I still send cards (returned to sender) and did everything I could when I first got divorced (paid for a lawyer to try and get custody), but my ex traumatized the children so badly and poisoned them against me so that when I would pick them up for visitation, they would cry and pee their pants (the children would tell me in the car afterwards that mom told them they don't like me and that I would beat them up). My ex said she'd make my life hell if I kept trying to see them, so I figured she had more power over them than me and would essentially end up harming them in the process. Not to mention I couldn't afford a lawyer any longer at that point. I am slowly in the process of documenting the alienation my second ex is currently doing and I am going to take her to court again (already held her in contempt once).

    Thanks for the info on calling the agency. I will definitely look into it. It would certainly help me out to be able to have a portion of it forgiven so I can focus my efforts and money on getting my children back into my life.
  5. #5
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    I don't have enough fingers to count the bad decisions you made just described in that post.
  6. #6
    helix2048 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    I don't have enough fingers to count the bad decisions you made just described in that post.

    I am well aware. I was gullible and young and stupid. I am trying to fix things. It is all I can do, and being reminded of how foolish and stupid I was doesn't exactly make me feel too encouraged that I am doing the right things now.
  7. #7
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    I don't know whether you are making better decisions now. Giving up on being able to see your children until they are adults is one bad choice you keep making every day. Sometimes, you need someone to tell you that you have been going about things all wrong or making bad choices before you can see it yourself.
  8. #8
    helix2048 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    I don't know whether you are making better decisions now. Giving up on being able to see your children until they are adults is one bad choice you keep making every day. Sometimes, you need someone to tell you that you have been going about things all wrong or making bad choices before you can see it yourself.
    I understand, I feel great shame and loss over all this. I do what I can... I send cards like I said, and I even tried calling the first set of children a few times, but the mom thwarted that for me. I am honestly not sure how to go about arguing to the court I want to be involved when it has been so long since I have been around. She will claim I was abusive and want supervised visits and do everything she can to keep them from me, as she has done in the past. At this point, they won't even want to see me, and the mother will claim it is in their best interests that I not be involved. How do I fight that? At a take-home salary of $500 a month, I can hardly afford to have a lawyer for a simple modication. I have no idea how to defend myself in court against her... I am a soft-spoken man who has a hard time speaking and standing up for myself, especially the intimidating environment of a courtroom. Any advice from fathers who have been in a similar situation is much appreciated!

    The second set is a different story, I am slowly building my case and doing my due diligence to make sure I have my day in court and that it is heard fairly. I haven't lapsed in my obligations to these children and you can at least pat me on the back for learning my lesson.
  9. #9
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You need to do a serious search-and-rescue for your backbone. If you have that much trouble speaking up for yourself, you need to hire a lawyer to do it for you. Alternately, you could get into therapy to get yourself some balls.

    Agree to a supervised visitation schedule which would be graduated, a re-introductory period for you to get to know them again, leading up to unsupervised, overnight visits on a standard parenting schedule. Request the supervisor to be a therapist, NOT mom or any of her family. Stick to the schedule, and file for contempt if mom does not adhere to what is ordered. Quit just laying down and taking it. Your kids deserve better.

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